When I spoke with celebrity stylist Kristin Ess (she's the one getting all Betty Draper on the right) of LA's Warren-Tricomi salon about her work on Lauren Conrad's extensions for The Hills and the red carpet, she also very kindly agreed to answer all my burning questions about the mysterious world of these length-enhancing strands. I learned a lot, and I think you will, too. To see the first part of my fun, informative interview with Kristin, just keep reading.
How do you navigate all the different kinds of extensions on the market?
One particular extension isn't right for everyone. Some people come in and have very curly hair, for example, and for them, small, individual extensions like the Great Lengths brand are better, because really curly hair bunches up in little groups and ringlets of about the same size as an individual extension. If you've ever seen some Great Lengths extensions blown out straight, you can always tell because it looks kind of like spaghetti — like little groupings of hair — so it's great for wavier hair that would group up anyway, but not for straight hair, which separates out along single strands.
The most important thing is to consult with your hairdresser on what you need, because there are so many different kinds. You also don't ever want to sit in someone's chair who's going to sell you the wrong extension because they want to make money off of it. You should always talk to someone who's willing to say, "This is the right extension for you," even if it's not their salon's preferred brand.
Are there any questions you would tell somebody who wanted to get extensions to ask their stylist?
When you sit down you should definitely say, "What kind of extensions are there, and what would be right for my hair?" Those are the best questions, and if you feel in your gut that they're just trying to sell you their extensions, leave. You have to; it's a very expensive process. Extensions are not a joke. You can go from a week to six months with extensions in your hair, and it's a big waste of time and a big waste of money if they're done incorrectly. I would also tell you to find multiple stylists who do different kinds and get everyone's opinion. It's best to have a couple of consultations.
For people who are trying extensions themselves — I don't know if that's ever a good idea, but if they are and they think they can do it — is there any advice you have for them?
I always say: try to cut your own bangs at home, put some box color in it. I don't care, do some things at home. But when you're messing with glue and permanent bonds and things like that, you can be stuck with them for a few months. It's not experimental, really. It's something that’s much more serious. There's a reason it costs so much, there's a reason it takes so long. It’s not an easy process.